This month it is my privilege to pair up with a Twitter author, and write a blog post related to the Corelaborate Twitter chat on May 14 at 7pm. To find the chat, use search #WATeachLead at 7pm where Aron Early (@ohsoearly) will be leading the chat.
Aron’s topic (as it is set for Mother’s Day) is titled Teach Like a Mom. I thought this topic was interesting as I am the first female agriculture education teacher to be hired in my district…ever. That being said I got distracted while writing this post and went through our archive of yearbooks and found that there have been a total of 6 ag teachers in the last 54 years…total.
WHY DOES THIS RELATE TO BEING A MOM?
I have a two year old, with our second son due in July. I also come from a community that has strong ties to the agriculture in our area and their FFA program. Can a girl do that job? Heck, women have only been allowed to be voting members of the FFA since 1969. I did have one community member mention to me that I am shaking things up ESPECIALLY because I am having a second child. When you are in a district with deep roots to their programs, it can be expected that the program comes first, and everything else happens at the end of the day. I have to say my community has been wonderful to me. I did have to prove myself a little at the beginning. I was also 22 years old and looked like a student.
HAS BEING A MOM CHANGED MY TEACHING STYLE?
Yes. I cannot spend three hours after school everyday creating the most engaging lesson plans, and grading all my papers by the end of the day. I have a babysitter that is expecting me to pick up my child by 4 pm. I also have a son that I want to give my attention to from 4 pm to bedtime. How has this affected me?
- I have been forced to be more organized. That is a needed plus.
- Depending on the student you ask I am more strict. (The older kids will tell you I am nicer. I think every class would say that about all their teachers.)
- I have cut out the fluff. We do lessons that directly relate to the standard I am aiming for.
- I am more aware of family time needed by my students and their parents.
- I am more compassionate to the students that may not be getting that family time and need to hang out in my classroom to visit.
- My grading has become different. I do not grade every little piece of work we do throughout the day.
- I am becoming more aware of kids shows and can pick up “their” cultural references, and in turn use those in class.
WHAT WILL NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE AS A MOM?
The largest adjustment I have had to make professionally is asking for help. I wrote a blog last month that somewhat touches on this https://corelaboratewa.org/how-many-hats-do-you-wear/.
It has been a blessing that my family, community, coworkers, students, and parents all support my family and my career. It truly takes a village to raise a child. I am nervous about having two children and how much time I will have to devote to each area of my life. The first year of my sons life I was able to take him with me everywhere. I even took him on his first plane ride to Chicago, then drove to Indianapolis for a week with my students to attend the National FFA Convention. To do this I bought my mom a ticket and she came along to watch her grandson so I could focus on my students and their needs during the day. It was that trip that my mom asked me “What is more important? Quantity of time with my son, or the quality of time with him.” This hit hard. I had been dragging him around so he was with me, but we would both get tired and flustered. I wasn’t doing a great job at being a teacher OR being a mom. Both were suffering.
Next year I am taking September and October off for maternity leave. I need to ask for help. Who is going to help the FFA members at fair on Labor Day Weekend? I called a parent meeting and asked them for help. They had great suggestions that we should have been doing all along. I just need to ask for help.
There are some amazing parents/teachers out there that I look up too. I have to be careful not to compare myself to them, but I definitely want to model some parenting and teaching styles after them. My colleagues are my family too, and that sure makes a difference. Thank you to everyone who has helped me more in the last two years than I could ever have imagined was necessary.